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Josh McGuire death threats 'an absolute disgrace' says players' union boss

Players' union boss Ian Prendergast has labelled social media abuse aimed at NRL stars as "an absolute disgrace" following an ugly weekend online for the game's athletes.

Just hours after it emerged Josh McGuire had been the target of death threats, Latrell Mitchell shared a vile racist comment directed at him on Facebook.

McGuire's aggressive ruck-play has become a central talking point of the code in recent days after his third contrary conduct charge for "a facial" this season.

However the abuse directed at the North Queensland enforcer has prompted him to turn to his club for support, with the Cowboys now offering assistance.

The wife of the forward reminded fans on Instagram on Sunday he was a human with real feelings, and that countless threats had taken their toll.

She also claimed in the Townsville Bulletin McGuire had received a message from a troll stating "they hope he gets hit by a bus so his kids don't have to grow up with Josh McGuire as their dad".

And speaking before the details of the Mitchell scenario was clear, Rugby League Players' Association chief Prendergast was appalled with the McGuire situation.

"I think it's an absolute disgrace," Prendergast told AAP.

"You can have your opinion as to whether you rate a player's conduct on field. Ultimately we've got a judiciary that deals with these situations.

"But to make these types of threats based on a sporting event is absolutely ludicrous. And it has to stop."

The Cowboys confirmed they were assisting McGuire, who copped the three-week ban for contact with Brisbane forward David Fifita's face.

Prendergast said fans needed to be held accountable for comments.

"The passion of our fans is what makes rugby league great, but there is definitely a line there that needs to be respected," he said.

"I think players have generally got pretty thick skin, but eventually it can take its toll and we need to do what we can to protect their wellbeing and mental health.

"It's a crazy world we live in. People who take pride in criticising high- profile people in society should only post what they are prepared to say to that person's face."

The NRL were on Monday investigating the comments made against Mitchell, and if the perpetrator could be banned from attending games.

The Sydney Roosters' centre screen-shot the slur and called it out on social media, which also included the offender claiming they would laugh if someone broke his neck.

Wests Tigers winger Paul Momirovski was also the subject of heavy social media criticism over the weekend, after he missed a conversion attempt that would have sent their match against Canterbury into golden point.

Josh McGuire
Josh McGuire Source: Photosport


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